Win over Cedaredge would ensure Rams playoff berth
The season comes down to a single game for the Roaring Fork High School football team.
A week after playing for what was essentially the Western Slope Conference title, the Roaring Fork Rams are now playing for their Class 2A state playoff lives.
After coasting through their first five conference games – winning all but one by 20 points or more – the Rams fell 19-2 to Eagle Valley last weekend. It was the first game of the season Roaring Fork didn’t score at least two touchdowns. Eagle Valley clinched the conference title and moved to a perfect 6-0 in the WSC (8-0 overall).
It was the first conference loss of the season for the Rams (5-1, 6-2). Unfortunately for Roaring Fork, tonight’s opponent, Cedaredge, also only has only one conference loss. The Bruins’ loss also came against Eagle Valley, by a 39-13 margin.
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. today at Cedaredge and, with only two WSC teams guaranteed a playoff berth, the season finale will send a team with a solid season home unhappy.
The loser could conceivably slip into the playoffs as a wildcard, but there is only one berth open in the 2A bracket.
Many teams have been keying on the Roaring Fork’s leading rusher James Leonard in recent weeks, so he hasn’t put up the big numbers like early in the season. Still, he averages 9.2 yards per carry and has 804 yards on the season.
Also, senior quarterback Evan Carmichael has picked up the slack, completing over 62 percent of his passes. He has 677 yards passing this season and is also a threat to run with the ball.
The Rams defense has also been stout, giving up over 20 points only once this season, with Aspen scoring three touchdowns in a 48-21 Roaring Fork rout. Two of Aspen’s touchdowns came with the starters on the bench.
In other WSC 2A action, Basalt (1-5, 1-7) will try to lift itself out of the cellar in its season finale against Hotchkiss (2-4, 2-6). Hotchkiss enters the game with a two-game winning streak.
Class 3A Western Slope Conference
Rifle and Glenwood Springs should get a bit of a reprieve from the tough part of their schedules this week. Rifle, ranked No. 1 in the state and undefeated with an 8-0 record (6-0 in conference) faces winless Montezuma-Cortez (0-4, 0-7) on the road Friday at 7 p.m. Glenwood (2-3, 4-4) faces Battle Mountain at 7 p.m. on Friday, also on the road.
Rifle should seal up a playoff spot with a win against Montezuma-Cortez.
Glenwood is out of the playoff race, but could win its fourth game this season – double its win total of last year – and also win back-to-back games for the second time this year.
Battle Mountain (1-6) earned its victory in the second game of the season in overtime against Class 1A Plateau Valley. Its losses, however, have been extremely lopsided. The Huskies have been outscored 302-48, including being shut out 60-0 and 78-0 in its last two games against Class 2A Valley and Class 1A Sanford, respectively.
Rifle and Glenwood play each other to conclude the season next Friday at Stubler Memorial Field at 7 p.m.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.